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White Nationalists Arrested ahead of Richmond Rally Planned to Kill Gun-Rights Demonstrators to Spark Civil War

People cheer as a large crowd gathers on a Gun Lobby Day in front of the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, VA, U.S. January 20, 2020. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

Three alleged members of a white supremacist group were plotting to murder demonstrators at Monday’s gun rights rally at the Virginia Capitol before they were arrested by the FBI last week, according to court documents.

The men were caught discussing their plans on a hidden camera set up in their Delaware apartment by FBI agents.

“We can’t let Virginia go to waste, we just can’t,” said Patrik J. Mathews, one member of the hate group “the Base” that promotes violence against African-Americans and Jews.

According to authorities, the 27-year-old former Canadian Armed Forces reservist also discussed creating “instability” in Virginia by killing people, derailing trains, poisoning water, and shutting down highways in order to “kick off the economic collapse” and possibly start a “full blown civil war.”

Mathews also discussed the possibility of “executing” police officers and stealing their belongings and remarked that, “We could essentially be like literally hunting people.”

“Virginia will be our day,” said 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., adding, “I need to claim my first victim.”

“Lemley discussed using a thermal imaging scope affixed to his rifle to conduct ambush attacks,” the court filings read.

The two were arrested along with a third man, 19, last Thursday. They are charged with federal firearms violations and “transporting and harboring an alien,” referring to Mathews, who is a Canadian national. Four more members of The Base have also been arrested and charged in Georgia and Wisconsin.

In a search of the apartment, prosecutors said that FBI agents found propaganda fliers for The Base, communications devices, empty rifle cases, “go bags” with “numerous Meals-Ready-to-Eat,” knives, and materials for building an assault rifle.

Tens of thousands of gun rights advocates rallied in Richmond on Monday to protest the state’s Democratic legislature’s gun-control agenda. Critics raised fears beforehand that militant white supremacists could disrupt the rally, but the day ended peacefully with no violence.

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